General You told me your stories. Gave me your sins. And I carried them.

I would never ask J about his trauma ! He shares voluntarily and I just listen.

^^^ This. When mine talks trauma, I stfu. He doesn’t need me to pontificate on the most horrible experiences of his life. He just needs to purge every so often, and I facilitate that.

Understanding & Obligation? Are seeeeeriously linked, unless something else supersedes it. Something else with weight. Like parent/child weight.

Is it the obligation to the person you tell it all too? Mine says he could never be in another relationship if we ever broke up because he can’t go through all the work of telling the stories again. I’ve already heard them by this point… at least all the ones he’s willing to share. Maybe I am the one obligated in that situation?

It doesn’t feel like an obligation. It feels like I’m lucky to have him.
I don’t know if I’m getting this.
If someone trauma dumps on me, and I don’t already have a good relationship, I’m not staying, f*ck any sort of obligation, I might understand them, but if I don’t want them as a person in my life I’m still not interested.
If a friend tells me a trauma, I stay because they’re my pal, not out of obligation because of what they’ve shared. I might get a bit more protective if I know in certain situations they’ll not handle it and I’ll just step up in the moment and get it dealt with. I’ve left relationships where we’ve both shared/understood, I didn’t feel I had to stay because of the trauma. That’s theirs to deal with. I’m honoured I was trusted enough to be allowed in but that doesn’t give them a free pass that I’ll stay for everything.

Conversely I don’t want people in my life who feel obligated to be there. I don’t often share because I don’t usually feel a need. Some know a rough outline, hasn't changed anything. My friends/family are grand. I’ve have to eff up spectacularly for them to leave and I’d fully deserve it for whatever crap I pulled.
I think the idea of telling somebody something so horrifying that it traumatizes them is very much a sufferer idea that isn’t really a thing to supporters.

Mm, I'm not too sure about this one. My mom is my supporter and after she learned more serious details about my abuse she wound up hospitalized. I don't think she has PTSD, just based on how different our mental health issues are - but learning aversive details of trauma that have happened to people who are extremely close to you is actually one of the definitions of criterion A for PTSD.

And I would say that she definitely internally perceived this information as traumatic, and reacted to it as though it were a direct trauma that happened to her (not that she experienced the abuse first-hand, but that she was having a first-hand experience of subjective suffering/trauma that it happened to her child). My issues are related to human trafficking and it's something that I find has a generational impact; it didn't "just" happen to me, it affected my whole immediate family.

Personally, I've lost count of how many people I have had lash out in completely illogical and disoriented ways simply from hearing events that are relatively "tame" in my mind (such as a basic rape, or beating, or whatever). Many of those people were actually therapists who were supposedly trained in handling this type of data - but inevitably this never turned out to be the case.

The people who were able to cope with it were those who had a different type of specialized training, alongside inborn factors of resilience and composure. These are the folks who just naturally aren't fazed, who then went on to learn exactly how to compartmentalize and structure things so it doesn't traumatize them. I have no doubt that there are many, many supporters who practice these sorts of things because it's purely natural to them - but I also have (a great deal more) experience with the opposite.

It definitely does something to you, gives you some kind of "complex," when even the professionals are kicking you out of the room so they can have a cry - while you're sat there stoically relaying Incident # 256.
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In Zen there is a concept of basic human goodness. Through that concept, those who understand feel obligated to help those who are damaged.

It's like the quote of the day I posted yesterday though. “You don’t have to save me, you just have to hold my hand while I save myself.”
I think the idea of telling somebody something so horrifying that it traumatizes them is very much a sufferer idea that isn’t really a thing to supporters. My sufferer has never traumatized me with any of his stories.
In my dispatch training academy we actually held a class about "what to share" because it is so common to get blow back by telling someone about the calls we took. Inevitably they will get the "I can't believe you told me that!" response - which sucks. Then it becomes all about poor little them and how upsetting it was for them to hear about that dead baby or homicide call and how guilty you should feel for telling them.

Trainees learned pretty quickly to only share with other first responders, which was bad because then you end up like me -- always monitoring what I say so that I don't end up taking care of someone who can't handle my experiences and expects me to somehow fix their reaction.

Whats funny about the timing of this whole post is that my sis in law just sent me a text, like 3 minutes ago, about how her friend's kid is in the hospital and she (sister) is having panic attacks after hearing about it. So she's not able to be supportive because it's too upsetting to her.

Ya. Timing is sometimes pretty funny huh? 😄

Although I'm still going back to @LuckiLee comment about voyers... that's making me think deep thoughts about those around me........

this too..
Of course I also don’t feel the need to make his traumatic experiences all about me or my feelings. That seems like a very drama-queen thing to do, and if somebody does that they suck.
This is a good reminder to me that I do have people in my life who aren't going to take my traumas and make it about them. Especially as I've gotten to know more vets - we are all in the same boat. But it even applies here cause people here know way more about me than most of the people IRL and no one here has EVER chastised me for sharing.

Much more deep thoughts..........
@Freida yes, this is were it is okay to share, but you and i know that there is nothing to be gained by sharing our worst calls or dispatches with a broad audience like this. Anonymous as we are we still have our identities and neither of us wants to be a teller of gory tales. Not even on a forum in here for just first responders and LE have I seen anyone tell about our truly jarring experiences. In generalised terms yes, but no descriptions of the various ways we have seen the worst ways to see another human for example. There is a line I think everyone expects us to keep, even amongst fellow sufferers of similar traumatic calls. When on a scene one of the first rules was respect the privacy of the victim and guard the public from seeing what no one wants to see. I think it ties into the basic oath “first, do no harm” for as long as we carry thise memories with us.
I havent had a chance to say how much i have appreciated your inputs here for awhile, thanks @Freida, you are an important contributor here
Mm, I'm not too sure about this one. My mom is my supporter and after she learned more serious details about my abuse she wound up hospitalized
In my dispatch training academy we actually held a class about "what to share" because it is so common to get blow back by telling someone about the calls we took.
Fairly early on in my career I was lucky enough to be part of a team doing K&R, and watched one of the family members kill themselves… on the spot… when they found out what their “kid” had been through. Not actually been through, just the super sanitized family brief. Including the fact that they were alive, and in hospital, and we could take them to them in a couple days.

I’m not sure if I was still 17, or had just turned 18? Like I said, early days. I hadn’t even been home on Leave, yet.

I made the decision, on the spot, never to tell, my family anything. Not the fun stuff, not the hard stuff, nothing. Just to be there for them, with them, and their lives. My life? Would be off limits.

Eventually, that meant I developed the reputation of being a self centered asshole… which my non-military friends could never parse, as I valued everyone else’s life above mine, and was THE person to reach out to at oh-dark-thirty to show up; but my mil-friends totally grokked, as they mostly did the same durn thing… as better that, than the alternative.

You don’t hurt the people you love. Full stop.

((Brief funny aside: I lived with a fire chief -housemate not lover/father/partner, but just a bloke- when I was pregnant. Bastard LOVED getting me to puke, on a whim. I’m emetiphobic, which made it an extra treat, for him. As I just don’t. Even when I should. Iron Jaw Friday. Except? When I was pregnant. OMFG. DUDE. I HAVE SEEN (almost) EVERYTHING you’ve decided to spring on me, so I’ve got fawking smell-o-vision with the shit you’ve decided to talk about as I make breakfast. Bastard. Cabron. Bite me. Lmfao 🤣 That. Man. He drove me craaaaaazy. f*ckin firefighters. Adored by the masses, but twisted SOBs, up close. I’m currently reminded of a strip club slogan: Thousands of pretty girls, and three ugly ones. That’s firefighters for you. <grrrrr> In reverse. If I’m grumpy. Or… honest. There really are good ones out there. Most? Are like musicians without a guitar. They want to be loved by strangers, but their loved ones want to throttle them. Snort. Clearly, I’m in a grumpy moment. Also? Honest. 😉 ))

Back on TARGET. My caps lock stuck. But I’ll leave it.

Two social workers showed up to my house, one day. This was about 6mo after my divorce, and my ex had been playing seeeeeeeerious games.

(Posting my address online to certain unsavory websites, IE f*ck with me, rape fantasy, etc.; telling power/water/heat I was on vacation for a month & to shut them off, cloning my phone, dropping me from my classes in school, f*cking with my jobs, list goes on).

So? My power/water/heat was off -again- and the CPS peeps on my doorstep were visibly thrown off by the fact that I just admitted that to them as they asked to come inside. Sorry! I know it’s cold out here, but the heat is off inside and it’s colder in there. My ex is playing games. He was court ordered to pay mortgage and utilities and isn’t. So every time he shuts them off, I have to come up with half of what he’s due to turn them back on.

“We wanted to talk with you about you son hanging himself this weekend,”

I don’t know what happened after that.

My knees buckled. Light and sound both became pulses.

I came to, to the shouts of “OMG, she didn’t know! They didn’t tell her? No one told her? How could no one have… He’s ALIVE! He’s ALIVE! HE’s ALIVE! He’s ALIVE! Your SON! HE’S ALIVE.”

So I understand better… what love can do.

I have always… fought.


When I lost HIM.


And what a low bar that calls.


Someone else’s pain… has alway been secondary to my own.

Until him.

But I cannot even begin to express hpw the pain of others has influenced my own actions.
Someone else’s pain… has alway been secondary to my own.

Until him.

Yeah, it's one of my deepest regrets that I was not able to figure out how to accomplish the Rule of Silence with my family. Even now, I will lose my grip on reality and start spewing garbage at people that I shouldn't. I don't want to be doing this. No one wants me to be doing this. It is harmful to listen to strangers go on and on about torture.

When I am sane and normal all is well, but often times I straight up lack the capacity to control my own behavior (it sounds like an excuse but I have no idea how to really explain what happens) because of being an insane person.

As a child I had flashbacks that were so intense it was like I briefly lost all sanity, would talk to myself, go on and on and on about stuff, talk to people who weren't even there, scream at them to stop hurting me or other people, etc.

My mom actually remembers more of these details than me since I wasn't in my right mind and never encoded the memories properly. Even while going to the hospital here, I have read stuff I've written that does not seem produced by me that I don't remember writing and never would write that way.

And she doesn't know how to verbalize the stuff she heard but has said that it was awful to go through. I can only imagine - when it's your family member, it's just different.

Especially when it's your kid. I don't even think it's necessarily relative to people "making my trauma about them" as far as it's just pretty much impossible for this stuff to sane-ly exist.

The therapist I am seeing now, it took a lot of work for me to be able to trust that she could cope with it. Because I don't want to hurt anyone, at the end of the day. Even posting on this website is challenging for me (often the posts I have written with the most details are a product again, of being not in my right mind).

But as you said one good benefit? I don't think there is anything that anyone could say to me that would genuinely shock or horrify me. It's allowed me to curate spaces for my peer groups where they feel safe to be open about their experiences where ordinarily they wouldn't. So that definitely means a lot to me, because of how hard it has always been for me to find the right place for all my shit.
@Friday so sorry you had to go through that Hell, but so thankful for you, and surviving it. 🫂

I can only say I think there are a million existential questions and ways we can think of things to try to spare others and ourselves pain, their perceived protection and our self protection. But the truth is, as with your son True Love is painful. Even many a dog will stay at it's Master's grave to die after their loss. And they are a dog without our questions. (Though arguably often even bigger hearts than humans). Your son is very blessed to have such a mom.